Monday, May 18, 2009

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I made gnocchi for the first time about a month ago. For my second go at it, I wanted to try sweet potatoes, which I adore. Working with sweet potatoes as opposed to the russets was just a bit trickier. They have less starch than the russet potatoes and were, therefore, slightly more delicate to roll into the ropes and across the tines of the fork. The effort was worth it, though. Once these babies were cooked, the sweet flavor came through and the texture was light and pillowy.

2 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned, patted dry, pierced all over with fork
⅔ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus ⅓ cup for the work surface

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender and fully cooked, between 40 to 55 minutes depending on size. Cool slightly. Cut in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large measuring cup to make sure the 
sweet potatoes measure about 2 cups. Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes back to the 
large bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and blend until well mixed. Add the flour, ½ cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough in a ball on the work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll out each ball into a 1-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll the gnocchi over the tines of a fork. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a large baking sheet. Continue with the remaining gnocchi.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi in 3 batches and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the gnocchi using a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue with the remaining gnocchi. Serve with butter or cream sauce.

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